Monthly Archives: July 2018

31 July 2018 – Acts 17:10-15 (NIV)

Scripture

10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. 14 The believers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. 15 Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.

Reflection

People are receiving the good news about Jesus in different ways. In the city of Berea the people come to faith in Jesus by “examining the Scriptures”, that is the Bible. They heard Paul’s message then they checked it out for themselves. An increasing number of people are turning up where Christians are gathered to discover what it is that Christians believe and teach, to “check it out” for themselves. Let us always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Be still and allow the presence of Jesus to bring rest to you right now.

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By |2018-07-26T10:05:52+08:00July 31st, 2018|Week 5|0 Comments

30 July 2018 – Acts 17: 5-9 (NIV)

Scripture

But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.

Reflection

Interesting enough, the very same accusation that Paul, Jason and some of the other believers are accused of in these couple of verses are the exact same charge the jealous Jews are guilty of namely: false testimonies, unrest and turmoil. These believers in Acts experienced how it felt like when people accused them falsely, and or for a situation to be blown out of proportion for personal gain. Yet, is seems they left the situation in God’s hands and for God to fight their battle for them (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • How do you deal with unfair treatment or false accusations?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Stop and ask God to place a nation on your mind and heart. Pray for the people to blessed by God, the church to shine brightly and for God to be present in that place.

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By |2018-07-26T10:02:09+08:00July 30th, 2018|Week 5|0 Comments

27 July 2018 – Acts 16:25-34 (NIV)

Scripture

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

Reflection

Lydia and her friends not withstanding not everyone in the city was glad to see Paul and Silas. Arrested for being “out of town, religiously oriented trouble makers” they all experience a timely earthquake which opened the prison doors. When the jailer saw the open doors it could only mean one thing, the prisoners were gone; he would pay for this with his life. It was still dark when the jailer drew his sword to take his own life before they could execute him when Paul shouts out, “Don’t harm yourself”. In just one moment, a husband was restored to his wife, a father was saved for his children and a soul was led into the Kingdom of light (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Stop and ask God to place a nation on your mind and heart. Pray for the people to blessed by God, the church to shine brightly and for God to be present in that place.

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By |2018-07-20T11:54:32+08:00July 27th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

26 July 2018 – Acts 16:11-15 (NIV)

Scripture

11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

Reflection

There is such beautiful color in the telling of this story. Lydia, who is from Thyatira, a city in Asia is now apparently living in Europe. (Paul has recently arrived from Asia) She is Jewish, wealthy and a business woman. Custom required the presence of at least 10 Jewish men to form a synagogue, it appears from this story that there not 10 Jewish men in Philippi and so Lydia and her friends meet at a convenient place near a tributary stream for ritual cleansing and prayer. The Christian church that is about to be “birthed” in this place will become one of the most loving and supportive churches Paul will ever experience. The elements of their DNA can already be seen at their beginning: generosity, love and care, an openness to apostolic teaching and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Be silent today

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By |2018-07-20T11:50:20+08:00July 26th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

25 July 2018 – Acts 16:6-10 (NIV)

Scripture

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Reflection

In this passage Paul and those who were with him had plans to go to specific places to go and do ministry there, yet God had other plans for them. Sometimes as Christians we might fall into a place where we think we already know what we need or want to do. However, in the midst of the “doing” there is a danger of not acknowledging God along the way. In Proverbs 16:9 it says: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps”.

Are you in a place where your plans have been frustrated? Could this be God redirecting you? Are there any plans you need to surrender to Him? Take time and listen to God as you obey Him and as He leads you. Proverbs 3:6 states “In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Su).

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Follow the ACTS acronym in prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication (Asking).

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By |2018-07-20T11:45:07+08:00July 25th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

24 July 2018 – Acts 16:1-5 (NIV)

Scripture

Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Reflection

This was the beginning of Paul and Timothy’s spiritual relationship and it grew so strong that Paul referred to Timothy as his own son in faith (1 Tim. 1:2). This is also once again a great example of the natural progression of discipleship. Prior to this, Barnabas was Paul’s disciple maker. Now that Paul has grown in his faith (note: growing in faith doesn’t equal perfect and or knowing everything), he is taking on Matthew 28:18-20’s mandate by discipling Timothy in a similar manner that he was discipled (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • Are you currently being discipled and or are you discipling someone else?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Reflect on a promise from the Bible. For example: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13.

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By |2018-07-20T11:41:00+08:00July 24th, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

23 July 2018 – Acts 15:36-40 (NIV)

Scripture

36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.

Reflection

The sharp disagreement between Paul and Barnabas derives from the incident that took place in Acts 13:13 where John Mark (Also Barnabas’ nephew – Col. 4:10) left them abruptly and returned back to Jerusalem. It is based on this incident that Paul is not trusting John Mark’s reliability and trustworthiness. However, Barnabas is urging Paul to give John Mark another chance whereupon Paul refuses. It turns out that in this case Paul was in the wrong because John Mark ended up being very reliable and trustworthy. This account is also a great example of giving people a second chance and of reconciliation. In Col 4:10, 11 and 2 Tim 4:11 we read not only had Paul and John Mark reconciled but Paul is also expressing his confidence in John Mark’s ministry and participation in advancing God’s Kingdom (Con).

Thoughts for the day

  • How quick are you to judge someone and if you realize you made a mistake, how quick are you to forgive and reconcile that relationship?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

The Bible is where we can turn when we don’t know how to pray. Take a moment to be still and reflect on God’s word. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm 119:105.

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By |2018-07-20T11:36:22+08:00July 23rd, 2018|Week 4|0 Comments

20 July 2018 – Acts 15:23-29 (NIV)

Scripture

23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell.

Reflection

Churches are made up of flawed people working on becoming more like Jesus, it’s not a surprise that churches have internal conflict, (although it seems to catch some people off guard . . . and disappoint them) but it is a question of how we resolve our differences and how we behave, maturely or immaturely, when we don’t get our way. The apostles and elders made a reasonable request of the very new believers which would go a long way to promote a harmonious relationship. In case there might be questions, they have sent Paul and Barnabas, whom they knew and trusted to answer their questions, in addition to the letter. Smart! (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Stop and pray for someone who is near to you right now, someone you can see.

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By |2018-07-13T11:41:19+08:00July 20th, 2018|Week 3|Comments Off on 20 July 2018 – Acts 15:23-29 (NIV)

19 July 2018 – Acts 15:1-5 (NIV)

Scripture

Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

Reflection

It takes a little more effort to understand what was going on then, after so many years and a different culture but the request to have the new “non-Jewish” Christians circumcised was a serious matter. It meant that these “non-Jewish” Christians would have to become Jewish to become Christian, if that seems backward to you, it did to Paul and Barnabas as well (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What is your ‘circumcision’ that you deem plays a part of becoming a Christian, but it’s not?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for somewhere in the world that needs God’s attention. Flick to a news app or website, and pick a news story to pray for.

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By |2018-07-13T11:37:14+08:00July 19th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments

18 July 2018 – Acts 14:21-23 (NIV)

Scripture

21 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

Reflection

Jesus said it this way, in Matthew 7 verse 13 and 14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Jesus was talking about the difficulty of repentance, persecution and embracing the ethics of the Kingdom. Here Barnabas and Paul emphasize the persecution that may come from being a Christian (Ps. Dale).

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
  • Who can you encourage with this story/message?

Prayer

Pray for someone you may know who is need of physical healing.

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By |2018-07-13T11:28:17+08:00July 18th, 2018|Week 3|0 Comments